Definition of once (or every once) in a while in US English:

once (or every once) in a while


  • From time to time; occasionally.

    • ‘Every once in a while, friends and friends-of-friends come to live with us.’
    • ‘Every once in a while, a science fiction film comes along that really shakes things up.’
    • ‘If, once in a while, we all take responsibility for our own doings maybe then we can all get on with a better life.’
    • ‘Does she want her husband to say thank you once in a while, or help her out or just not go fishing at all?’
    • ‘But they do have a cute blog which you should check out every once in a while.’
    • ‘Just once in a while, I stumble on a little piece of evidence that proves the world is as mad as I'm starting to think it is.’
    • ‘He introduced himself to me and asked if I'd like him to visit once in a while on his rounds.’
    • ‘He'd come back to the house every once in a while, blind drunk, making everyone's life a misery.’
    • ‘I dip into my comments section and reply every once in a while, mostly to show people that I read them.’
    • ‘Every once in a while, it's a good idea to turn away from world events and take a look at the issues on one's doorstep.’
    occasionally, from time to time, now and again, now and then, every now and again, every now and then, every so often, every once in a while, on occasion, on occasions, on the odd occasion, at times, sometimes, off and on, at intervals, periodically, sporadically, spasmodically, erratically, irregularly, intermittently, by fits and starts, in fits and starts, fitfully, discontinuously, piecemeal
    View synonyms